Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2008

I’m, of course, thankful for the usual: family, friends, food, etc.

Specifically:

I am thankful that my mom is here this Thanksgiving, because there have been any number of times this year that I thought that would not be the case.  And she looked good today, really really good.  I’m thankful that my back surgery is OVER and that any pain I’ve had has not been in the low back (where one of the removed discs was quote “so dessicated it was barely there” and I had bone rubbing bone, according to the surgeon), but more around the incision. This validates my reasons for surgery, you surgeons who looked at me like I was making it all up for the last six years! I am thankful that my boys have been learning about friendship, and have been really good, really good friends in their friend’s time of need. I’m thankful that the mom of one of Abby’s classmates called yesterday to arrange a play date for her daughter and Abby. I had literally been praying about that the moment before I listened to the message. I am thankful for Tim in ways that would take too long to enumerate here. It’s odd, to be incomeless this Thanksgiving, and still feel pretty okay (I’m not perfect about this, mind you), but God has been showing Himself in the situation, God has been giving us what we need — words and compassion and humor and such — so He must be here, you know? I am thankful for those friends that stand by and with us right now. We are blessed by you.

Waaaaaa!

November 23, 2008

My back hurts a lot today. A lot. The fear of something not working, of something being broken, of something being even worse plagues me. And I did not sleep last night.

I was at the ER with my daughter all Thursday night (from 1:30am-8:30 am) because she got the barfs. On the negative side, not one person at the Children’s Hospital ER could get a vein in her arm to give her an IV. But what a trooper she was, asking, pleading, “Is this one a good vein?” as she gritted her teeth and looked away. On the plus side, they gave her anti-nausea medicine that dissolves under the tongue and she began taking sips of Sprite, and began to get better on her own without an IV. This confirms my (and our pediatrician’s) thinking that she may be outgrowing the cyclic vomiting. Next time, we try this at home, and take her into the ER only if absolutely necessary. It does her no good to sit in the bright germ-infested ER unless she must, must, must be there. Sleeping (kind of) upright in an ER chair is not good if you have just had spinal fusion surgery. Just saying.

My husband is unemployed, at least in terms of being paid. We are by turns faithful and trusting in God and by other turns completely freaked the fuck out. He deserves better than how he has been and is being treated and I am so angry on his behalf. Unfortunately my anger sometimes turns on him, which is oh-so-super-productive-loving-and-supportive.  He needs this like he needs a gaping hole in his gut.  Yay for me.

My kids will be home for three extra days this week. And if they argue from Wednesday-Friday as they have been arguing today, I may sign away my parental rights.

Christmas is coming up. A great great time to be concerned about money.

I have a friend whose child has an enormously rare disease, and they face this with grace and dignity. I am whiny and weak and frankly, not very full of much grace or dignity.

God, I have good friends, good family, good books, and I am such an uberbitch today. Some of it is lack of sleep, some of it is concern for Tim, some of it is pain, some of it is the effect of the medicine on my mental state. And well, frankly, sometimes, I’m just a bitch.

Aren’t y’all glad I’m back to blogging regularly?

The good:  My Abby, my sweet socially awkward girl, has been elected to student council by her classmates.  How oh how does that warm my heart?  Thank you God, for giving her the gifts of listening to your leadings.  Dan found Abby’s DS, which may not sound like much, but he went out of his way this morning (and he’s not a morning guy AT ALL) to search and find, all for his sister who sometimes really really gets on his nerves.  But he went out of his way.  For her.  And I was so proud that my heart about burst.  She was ever so grateful.  Plus he’s been the distributer of the gentlest of hugs to his dear sore mom of late.  Rob has been cooking (!) a lot and really now likes eggs.  He’s a funny one, a wise one.  Do you know what he said about visiting me in the hospital?  “Mom, I could tell that you felt awful bad, because you were so so pale, and you kept gritting your teeth.  You were faking it for us, weren’t you?”  Oh kiddo, you have one lucky wife in your future someday.

The bad:  Still no news on Tim’s job.  We’re hanging in, financially and emotionally, but it’s been tough.  He’s down.  I’m down, but trying to me strong, which is kind of a laugh, but I’m trying.  God has always provided.  Always.  But to be honest, I really don’t want to be tested in my faith right now.  I just want good news.  We could use some good news.  But wow, any of us should be so lucky to have Tim care for us when we’re sick.  He’s been…wow.  Gentle and sweet and thoughtful.  He’s a keeper.

The frustrations:  I’ve had a real pain setback this week.  For some reason, my back is hurting as much if not more than when I came home from the hospital.  Bumps in the road are to be expected, but this one has been rough for me.  Pain scares me now because I’m afraid it’s all on the road back to the excruciating and unbearable.  And my stitches came out this week (yay!), but my incision is itchy, itchy, itchy and I’m not supposed to put any lotion on it.

But overall, we hang in and continue to hang in.  The really really good?  God, my family and my kids.  Those make up for a lot of the bad and the frustrating.

Many years ago, I read a Dear Abby column written by a widow who rued the fact that she ever complained about her dearly departed husband’s snoring. If only, she lamented, she could lie next to him and listen to his snorkelish gasping breaths just one more time…she believed that she never should have despised his snoring.

Tim and I have laughed about that column over the years (no disrespect to the widow intended), because it’s been forever that I’ve poked and shoved him at night, sometimes muttering, “Stop breathing!” as his snorty sounds keep me awake. That’s why it’s funny that my first night home from the hospital, when Tim graciously offered to sleep on the couch so I could have more room to spread in my discomfort, that I implored him, “No, no, please sleep with me. I was so lonely at the hospital. I want you next to me.” And so he was. And yeah, he breathed (oh my, so loud does he breathe) and snorted and sometimes even kind of snore-roared like a lion. But wow, it felt good to be there next to him. It felt good to prod him and roll him over and to simply know that he was there.

Much about a marriage is not terribly bloggable. I don’t have any great desire to share our deepest pain and hurts, to air his side vs. my side. Anyone who has been married, heck anyone who’s ever had a relationship with another human being, knows that the closer we are to one another, the more capacity we have to wound one another. And so we do, Tim and I — we wound each other. Over nearly eighteen years of marriage, we’ve caused each other a whole lot of sadness as well as joy. That’s just being human. And sometimes, in the midst of those harder times, we look at each other and wonder if we have the mettle to move forward together, if we can rebuild what we’ve broken, if it’s all really really worth it.

I realize that it is.

A couple of nights home (and a couple of nights into his snoring!), he got up with me to help me to the bathroom, solicitously finding my slippers and helping me lumber up and down from the bed. As he placed me back down and helped tuck my pillows (so many pillows right now! around me), I looked up at him, touched his sweet face for a moment and said, “It’s only ever been you, you know. I’ve never wanted it to be anybody but you.”

And he smiled down at me. “It’s only ever been you, too. Just you.”

So there. Love is a battlefield that sometimes involves snoring.  But it’s only ever been Tim.  It only ever will be.

…Overwhelmed by your generosity and visits, your friendship and meals, your hugs and comments…thank you. Inadequate as that sounds, we all thank you so very much.

I’ll have a longer post when I’m not so tired (ugh, the tiredness caused by the silliest stuff– such as walking from the bedroom to the family room, which is not like, you know, marathon distance), but a couple of thoughts.

  • Don’t have spinal fusion surgery. I mean really, don’t. Not unless you’ve tried every other option (which I had). I have never felt pain like I have this past week. Holy stinking wow. Still wow. Over a week out and I feel almost as good as I did in the recovery room after other surgeries. This.is.not.hyperbole.
  • God has been good in the little things — I had a roommate the first night, which was frankly kind of a pain, but there was no way I was going to sleep much that night regardless. But the lady who had had surgery and her husband were so nice. Yeah, they snored — I mean snored, snored, snored and don’t ask me how on earth they both managed to sleep in that tiny half of the room on the other side of the curtain. The husband bought me 2 diet cokes — without my asking him — he apparently just realized that Riverside struggled to meet the needs of its diet coke consumers. But seriously? Riverside must have some kind of stock in Sierra Mist. Blech. A pox on Sierra Mist.
  • I am apparently one heck of lot of fun, or at least super super interesting when I’m high. A couple jewels that fell from my mouth during my hospital stay: “Depending on the budget, maybe we’ll TP the cars.” or “I wonder how many gay married couples there are in Westerville.” (and honestly, no I’ve never actually contemplated this) And my personal favorite: “They won’t have to do the cavity searches.” (this apparently from my X files high?) A little Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, my friends.
  • On that note, a special call-out to those of you who visited and/or managed me in the hospital when I was in way too much pain and on way too many drugs to be anywhere close to my right mind.  Sorry, sister-in-law, Amy, who arrived at the apex of pain and drug confusion when I was apparently shouting and sobbing.  She was lovely and non-judgmental, which probably comes from being a nurse and seeing people way worse off than me.  My dad, who HATES HATES hospitals, yet came every single day to check on me.  Kathryn who stayed ridiculously late on Thursday to help me to fall asleep.  Tracy who, God BLESS her, helped find me a comfortable side sleeping position on Friday night before I about died of lack of sleep, and her daughter, Michelle, whose presence I apparently have no memory of.  Sweetie, I hope I didn’t say anything too awfully bad to scar your young mind.  And god, for all I know, many more of you might have been there.  For all I know, every member of my life past and present, were in full costume for Les Miserables and sang opera, but if you came on Thursday I have no freaking idea, so shaky is my memory of that day.  But I bet you guys rocked it.
  • Tim is still in job hunt mode (or more accurately, not being paid mode). Mostly I’m just thankful that he’s been here this week, and I’m choosing to view it as God’s provision. But still…really, really working and praying to hold panic at bay. There are some Columbus potentials, so those of you who pray, please keep it up!
  • My daughter’s Southwestern Native American project may kill her (and me by extension of course, which seems like kind of a shame after all the crap I’ve been through to get my back better). There’s been some major communication issues from school as to what’s due when, and Abby and I have been frustrated beyond measure.
  • I continue to believe that I am getting and will keep getting better from this surgery. Any pain I’ve had (did I mention I’ve had pain? and my surgeon is just a tad stingy with the better drugs!) has been markedly different from my pre-surgical pain. I take this as a good sign. I think (going out on a limb here) that I have pain because I have this ginormous metal contraption holding up a portion of my spine. This seems a somewhat reasonable inference to me.
  • I’m a grouchy and lousy patient but I’m really trying. Inexplicably, I’ve been watching re-runs of ER in the mornings. Now there’s a real upper for you. If you didn’t think your own life completely and utterly stunk, then try watching the soul-sucking that is the life on the doctors and nurses on ER. That’ll make you feel merry as all crap, let me assure you. How you can be that good looking and feel that much angst, I don’t know.
  • Someday (maybe?) I’ll be interesting again.
  • Gosh, thanks. Really. Y’all have made me feel loved. And awful well fed to boot.

Okay. 1 day to surgery and counting.

  • In the world’s crappiest timing, Tim’s company has decided that despite the fact they committed to him for at least a year — well, you know, they changed their calendar and they don’t so much need him. So Friday is his last day with this company. Now, he’s still with his consulting company, just not with his client, which means that he will be on the bench until his consulting company finds something else. Yeah, the timing here….but we’ve been here before and both God and the consulting company have come through. So I’m trying to stand where God would have me and trust. A friend of mine asked me yesterday, “What would trusting God look like in this situation?” I’m thinking it would look like someone who was moving forward and believing that God is good, whether my feelings match that belief. So I’m trying, not always succeeding, but trying.
  • For reasons I don’t understand, Abby doesn’t have school today. See above for timing…but I’m trying to view it as a good thing and an opportunity to spend time with her. The boys view her unexpected day off as the greatest injustice in all of life.
  • I call today after 2:00 to find out my surgery time — I’ll update later when I know the time. Oh, please no postponement!
  • People have made me feel very loved over these last few days. Friends have bought me books, offered meals and prayers, have helped me with laundry and cleaning….I’m grateful.
  • Much, much to do today. More later.

Edited to add:  Surgery is scheduled for 7:30 tomorrow morning!  Yay that I got the morning slot and so far, it has not been canceled.  My gosh, I think it’s going to happen…thanks in advance for prayers.